Aqua cycling is definitely the oddest class I’ve seen in the NYC area (though my friend Nicole assures me this isn’t true–she signed up for swordfighting on Classpass and basically walked into a LARPing). I don’t love spinning and I’m indifferent towards water sports, but two of my fitness friends sponsored a class at Aqua Studio NY for charity, so I gave it a shot.
Aqua is located in Tribeca, as a bougie class should be. The location has two studios: one for “land” classes and one for “aqua” classes. The lobby area is super relaxing and has a check-in area and a boutique–I’m in there like swimwear, literally. The land studio is basically just a room for yoga and is overall fairly no-frills. The studio has mats available and cubbies for your belongings. Downstairs, you’ll find the famous aqua studio for aqua cycling. How did they get the bikes in the pool?! Did they assemble them in there? So many questions. You’ll also find men and women’s locker rooms complete with showers, lockers, and bathrooms.
We took class with Jean-Charles aka JC. He has a very thick French accent and a great sense of humor. His cycle class was motivating and fun, and while he was entertaining and helpful during the land class, I didn’t find his land workout particularly challenging (more on that later).
The land class was a mix of yoga, barre (sans barre, obviously), and mat pilates. Lots of small moves, lots of balance challenges, some ab and glute work, but not very sweaty. I do barre/mat workouts regularly, so I found this class too easy. Others in the class seemed to find it challenging, though. To be totally honest, I wouldn’t recommend the land classes at Aqua. First of all, you’re going here for the aqua cycling, realistically. Second, if you do want a yoga/pilates/”land” workout, there are thousands of other studios in NYC that focus on just that. Read my reviews for further suggestions (shamless plug but, like, you’re already on my site?).
The aqua/ water cycling class is where the real magic began! We hopped on our bikes and JC led us through a mix of arm movements in the pool and “sprints” on the bike in the pool. Unlike a regular spin class, there are no gears in the pool (because let’s be honest, we don’t need to further complicate this workout), so for more resistance, you just pedal faster. We did a mix of just arms (challenging with the water’s resistance!), just legs, arms and legs at the same time (also known as “me falling off the bike”), and a weird bike position where we pulled off the seat of the bike and hovered back. I guess this is the studio’s version of “tapping it back” but for me it was more “this is how I drown; I can’t believe my last living moments are in a water cycling class; at least I’m wearing a cute swimsuit.” Overall, this class was fun, but during the class, I never felt EXHAUSTED the way I do in spin class. That said, I felt super fatigued later in the day. I’m not a huge swimmer, but it’s similar to the feeling of fatigue after swimming laps (nope? just me? ok). This class was a fun experience and the aqua cycling could definitely be good for someone looking for a workout easy on their joints, but I’m not sure I’d incorporate this into my regular routine.
As noted, this was a class planned by a couple of my friends, so it’s hard to gauge the vibe of a place from a closed event. I like to imagine that there’s a friend group of little old ladies who are regulars here because they find aqua aerobics too easy and they have (old) money to spend. But that’s just me.
Land classes are $25 and Aqua classes are $42 (!?). Your first Aqua class is $35, or newbies can do 30 days unlimited for $150.